Thursday, February 26, 2009

NYC: St. Patrick's Cathedral, Serfina, and Doug & Andy

It was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Don sent me a photo of Mari with her first ashes (last year, labor began on Ash Wednesday). All day Lent was on my mind and I couldn't help but feel a twang of melancholy since Don and I share our Catholic faith. It felt like a big part of me was missing and I was sad that I wasn't going to hold his hand when I went to get my ashes. My very highest priority of the guy was to going to church to get my ashes.

Once again, I braved the cold weather and racked up some miles in my heels. I walked 9 blocks to St. Patrick's Cathedral. (My poor feet will have earned that Baby's Butt pedicure at Nails Nails! when I return home.) I was incredibly excited to see inside the Cathedral. In my past trips, I'd only seen the outside, never having actually gone in. I arrived and there was a winding line of people outside to receive their ashes. I really wanted to go to Mass and you can imagine my surprise to know that there was a sign for "Mass" so I jumped out of line and followed the other sign. Once inside, I was immediately taken aback by the breathtaking beauty. All around me were lines filled with hundreds of people. My heart leapt and I felt so proud to be a Catholic. We were all joined here: the many colors of people, young and old, rich and poor, we were all the same in God's eyes. Here we were gathered in this ornate cavernous home, but it felt warm and comfortable. I thought, "What luck! I arrived at the part of the Mass where they are giving ashes. I can still sing and partake all through Eucharist, too!" I jumped in a line on the center aisle only to get to the front and receive Eucharist. I wasn't disappointed, but slightly panicked at the thought of the long, long line and receiving my ashes. I quietly nestled into one of the side pews to give thanks and praise. We sang the closing song and I made my way back to the center aisle after everyone had cleared out. They were handing out ashes!

"From dust you were made and to dust you shall return" I bowed my head as he placed the sign of the cross on my forehead. I went beyond the altar and behind it were small alcoves with candle displays. I lit two candles, knelt in prayer, and quiety walked around the other way to explore more of the sanctuary. At the furthest point was a beautiful, small chapel. There were about 8 to 10 pairs of pews all facing a statue of the Virgin Mary. It was so crowded that someone knelt on the pristine marble in quiet reverence. I kept walking and happened upon a statue similar to Michelango's Pieta. I extended my hand and touched the cool marble and was overcome with emotion.

Afterwards, I left the Cathedral and quietly walked several blocks until I was nearly back to the hotel. I spoke with my bienamada (beloved in Spanish) and did my Supergirl quick change to set out for Serafina.

Ror dinner: Ratatouille & Pizza Bianca (arugula, fresh parmesan, with added artichokes)...absolutely delicious! This was the comfort food I was seeking!
I sipped on a house red wine while I waited on the ratatouille. When it arrived, the aromas tickled my senses and my mouth watered. I wasn't even sure I was hungry, but as soon as I smelled it, my tummy grumbled. Even though there were red and green peppers, in the dish, I didn't care that I'd suffer from a migraine. It would be worth it. Yes, it was THAT good.


When they brought out the pizza, I reached out to snap a photo of it when the guys at the table immediately to my right said, "Yes, take a picture! It'll last longer."

They both had friendly eyes. I choked down the hurt and smiled at them. I was going to dismiss the comment, but never one to pass up the opportunity to make a new friend, I threw back, "Yes, I'm getting a photo for my husband, who isn't here with me, obviously." They smiled again and introduced themselves: Doug & Andy. I began to talk about my family and my reason for traveling to NY. They had an understanding look and without making me feel any worse, they both remarked how they live in Miami, but work in NY. Fly in on Monday, fly out Thursday, spend the weekends with their family. TOUGH! Wow, I had immediate admiration for them. They they raised their glass and we toasted. With that, I was finished with the first glass and ordered the Serafina Chianti to wrap up dinner. I talked about the ashes on my forehead (they were both Jewish). I talked about Texas. We talked weather. We talked food. We talked Facebook (and had a good laugh!) We even talked about the hotel where I'm staying and Andy told me the names of the workers, the General Manager and that he used to keep an apartment there. Interesting stuff. They were a wonderful distraction and took me away from my pity party. (Doug even gave me a high five! And you all know how fond I am of high fives!) They both gave me their business cards when it came time for me to depart. And it was like saying goodbye after dinner with friends. *sigh* It was just what I needed!

Only one more night alone and I'll see my family! yaaay!! And I really need to walk around with the Silver Rebel instead of my flashy red. These pictures aren't what they could be. Oh well, you get the point!

1 comment:

The Potts Family said...

In my 2000 trip to NYC with Jay's family we got to visit St. Patrick's. It is beautiful!

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